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So where are all the nukes?

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posted on Aug, 3 2007 @ 04:42 AM
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I've got a question gnawing at me, and it just doesn't make any sense.

Why, if all factors are as represented, wouldn't any nation that desired to do so be able to create a nuclear weapon in a very short time?

The process is scarcely more difficult than running an aggregate mine.

You blast pitchblende deposits, you crush the pitchblende and separate out lighter materials using screens and augers, you build sealed, heated tanks to mix the uranium dioxide with fluorine, you use simple but inefficient thermal diffusion to enrich it without running into equipment problems, you take a few hundred pounds worth of the stuff, place it at the core of a well engineered high explosive device to implode it to a density at which the present mass will achieve criticality, you put your heavy, dirty, low-yield bomb into a truck, you drive it to something you don't like, you get out of the truck, you leave, you trigger the bomb, and you spend the rest of your life hiding under a rock and dreading that this just might be the day that the Marines find you.

It doesn't even become a difficult exercise until you try to shrink it down to warhead size by using non-naturally occuring isotopes such as U-233, try to increase the yield beyond a few kilotons, or try to circumvent the admittedly painstaking enrichment process by using more efficient but more complex and more tightly controlled technologies-
and those are bad things from a covert point of view anyway, because U-235 is harder to detect than other fissile materials because it has far and away the lowest decay heat and lowest neutron generation, and would not be traceable to anything other than the site where the uranium was mined, and frankly I wouldn't be surprised if it was possible to get away with mining it covertly in the US.


So: What exactly is not as advertised? What that we don't know about has prevented Iran from already testing its first nuke? Afterall, it really doesn't matter if their nuke is way too big for a missile and only packs a few kilotons- once they have the bomb at all they are nearly invasion-proof.

It seems to me that the only way they wouldn't be doing it is if the US had a secret standing policy of attacking facilities, which made it necessary for nations thinking of pulling such a stunt to get their materials all in one shot, via black market or theft, in order to have a weapon ready before the US could react.




posted on Aug, 3 2007 @ 05:32 AM
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Originally posted by The Vagabond
It seems to me that the only way they wouldn't be doing it is if the US had a secret standing policy of attacking facilities, which made it necessary for nations thinking of pulling such a stunt to get their materials all in one shot, via black market or theft, in order to have a weapon ready before the US could react.


I think that's part of what the IAEA does, monitors all countries that have uranium reserves and makes sure they aren't selling it to the wrong people.

There's probably still lots of ways to get uranium and make a crude nuclear bomb, but it doesn't really have much deterrent value against a country that has over 10,000 nuclear ICBMs that can reach anywhere in the world. Terrorists might try it, but they have to know that no country in the world would harbor them after that. They're willing to die for their cause but using a nuclear weapon would end any support for their cause.



posted on Aug, 4 2007 @ 03:25 AM
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Stated US policy is that all responses are on the table at all times. We will not take that off the table regardless of who we are dealing with. It is a potent deterrent and a major factor when we pressure our potential adversaries. This policy has always been a centerpiece of US foreign policy.

If our potential enemies develop nukes we will take in to consideration all potential alternatives to neutralize that threat, up to and including a nuclear response.

No one is invasion proof. Possession of nuclear weapons does not make you invulnerable, it makes it even more necessary to take you out of the game.

During the Iraq invasion our troops were equipped with the most current equipment for chemical and nuclear attacks. There isn't much we can do to protect soldiers on the ground against a nuclear attack, but do not ever doubt that we would not sacrifice men to defeat an enemy who would attack our troops with a nuke. When and if that happens it's going to get really ugly.



posted on Aug, 4 2007 @ 09:43 AM
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Great thoughts from both of you.

I think mythatsabigprobe might be closer to the mark though.

Although there is in fact no such thing as strategic invulnerability, I don't honestly believe that the US has a very credible deterrent to Iran right now in any publically known form.

If we nuke Iran, China loses a lot of fuel, they look for more fuel from elsewhere, the prices go way up, China's economy suffers, our economy suffers as a result, and since everyone is suffering anyway China possibly dumps the dollar in retaliation to make sure that we don't get back up.

We can threaten Iran with invasion and China wouldn't go all out on us as long as we kept the fuel flowing. The Chinese have long term strategic vision and they won't press things to a level that reduces their long term soft power unless they are backed into a corner... temporarily losing control of a military pawn but retaining the economic advantages of associating with them wouldn't qualify.

Even a cumbersome tactical nuclear deterrent would make it impossible for America to take Iran clean though, which means that we don't go because the risk of losing significant forces and then going into a quasi war with China is unacceptable.

It just seems like strategically, Iran has carte blanche to do it.

We'd have to be stopping them on a small scale preemptive level.



posted on Aug, 5 2007 @ 05:56 PM
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Although the basic principles behind making a nuclear weapon are fairly simple, making an actual working device is not that easy. Both the engineering and the manufacture of a device have to be very precise or the chain reaction will simply blow itself apart. The recent "nuclear test" by North Korea is a good example of this. Their so called test was pretty clearly a "fizzle."

I guess even a "fizzle" could make a good "dirty bomb" type terror weapon but it would not be worth anything as a deterrent.



posted on Aug, 14 2007 @ 01:49 AM
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Vagabond,

I would like you to take into consideration that because the Chinese are readily servicing our debt that they concur with our strategy to contain and frustrate the Iranians. It has been my personal feeling, unsubstantiated by any real evidence, that our true intention was to establish working bases and logistical sites that would enable us to stomp a mud-hole into these clowns when they decide they are ready to test us.
Afghanistan and Iraq are perfect locations to operate freely from. Because we are there the Russians and the Chinese don't have to expend any real effort at containing the growing threat. Hence the Chinese readiness to service our debt. They will continue to give us the nod as long as our containment of the Iranians doesn't interfere with their oil supplies.

None of the real players at the G8 is willing to upset the cart unless and until the Iranians can no longer be controlled. When that happens we, G8 participants, will carve them up like lunchmeat. Then sucking their oil out of the ground will become another exercise in supply side economics.

When the Iranians become the obvious pariah that they truly are and cannot be maneuvered and muscled any longer they will be dissected like a lab project. This virulent form of nuclear blackmail is unacceptable and if allowed to morph into a true global threat will be decidedly snuffed out. Japan was not an accident, nor was it a fluke. It was a policy statement, and civilian casualties are a reality and the responsibility of the offending party. The Iranians need to examine our true alliances and policies concerning verifiable threats. We will not hesitate to make specific areas of their country uninhabitable to ensure our own survivability and continue the flow of oil in spite of their protests.

When we decide they cannot act like grown-ups we will "exhaust all diplomatic solutions", and resort to tried and true methods of changing their national policies. I use the "Marshall Plan" as the my example of reintroducing civilization the that part of the world where some of history's most notable civilizations began.

I hope it doesn't go this far, but I'm convinced that the Iranians and most anti-Americans forget that we are the survivors of every tyrant who has ever plagued man in modern history. It is incumbent on us to ensure that the lights stay on.



[edit on 14-8-2007 by sharkman]



posted on Aug, 14 2007 @ 02:09 AM
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Originally posted by sharkman

I hope it doesn't go this far, but I'm convinced that the Iranians and most anti-Americans forget that we are the survivors of every tyrant who has ever plagued man in modern history. It is incumbent on us to ensure that the lights stay on.

[edit on 14-8-2007 by sharkman]


Great post sharkman.
really made me think
And I had to question alot of my own values on that last paragraph...
But then it occured to me, you've never had a tyrant control your country before, how are you going to defeat this one?



posted on Aug, 14 2007 @ 02:31 PM
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The Presidential Election cycle in 2008. We will replace this guy in apeaceful manner, just like we have the others.



posted on Aug, 14 2007 @ 10:24 PM
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Going back to the premise of this thread, um its much more difficult than you depict. If it was SO easy as you say, then i have a feeling you wouldnt need to be asking the very question eh?



posted on Aug, 15 2007 @ 02:35 AM
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I get the impression that the Iranians are being given plenty of time to harden their facilities and move as much underground as possible. This buys them some time, because the IAEA is a Gelding as far as international over site is concerned. The IAEA is at least ineffectual as a proper tool for reviewing what the Iranians are doing or at worst complicit in their endeavors.

Buying time allows them to procure the necessary equipment, ie: gas centrifuges, to complete their weapon grade refining processes. Even the least informed of us knows that you don't need gas centrifuges to produce fuel for electricity production. I believe they are trying to produce a fair amount of refined product for several purposes. Leverage against the West as a blackmail tool to be subbed out to radical factions for terror purposes, and also for their own weaponry.

However it works out in the end eventually they will cross the line a little too far and become the object of severe scrutiny and potential removal from the playing board. My take is that we, the US gov't., believes we owe them a couple of black eyes, and we are in a wait and see mode.

I still maintain that "First Strike" mentality is still on the table.



posted on Aug, 15 2007 @ 02:43 AM
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Originally posted by sharkman
I still maintain that "First Strike" mentality is still on the table.


I agree, a first strike option should always be considered when you face an threat so grave, you very existence depends on hitting them first.


unfortunately, when you take advantage of the goodwill and trust and use the ' first strike ' policy based on known lies... you lose the right and the worlds backing to do it again.

this is why Irans taking full advantage of the quagmire.



posted on Aug, 15 2007 @ 03:25 PM
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Agit8Chop,

We have never used the nuclear "First Strike" capability on anyone that didn't earn the right. Nuclear weapons are tools in the arsenal, albeit formidable and horrendous, they are survivable and managable tools. Our nuclear capabilities have improved and so has our ability to make them "Less Dirty", the neutron bomb is one example.

I'm not sure what "known lies" you are refering to, but we will never lose the right to defend ourselves, nor do I believe we need the approval of the "World" to defend ourselves. For crying-out-loud, if we left our self-defense to the rest of the world we would have long ago died of a "Still-Birth" during the 1st Revolution.

WW2 was another example of our not needing the "approval" of the world to defend ourselves from the growing Nazi Fascist threat in Europe and the Imperial Japanese in Asia. We are currently in a Death Match with a virulent form of Fascist, Fundamentalist Islam. The balance of civilization is the price. I am unwilling to seek the approval of anyone on the planet, particularly the Europeans, when it comes to making decisions of life and death of "My" culture, ie; America, to these same people who could not and would not stop the German in the last great world conflagration. They are unfit and ill-equipped to determine my fate or the fate of my countrymen.

[edit on 15-8-2007 by sharkman]



posted on Aug, 15 2007 @ 04:20 PM
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Originally posted by sharkman

I'm not sure what "known lies" you are refering to, but we will never lose the right to defend ourselves, nor do I believe we need the approval of the "World" to defend ourselves.


Great post sharkman! I agree with you 100%. Known lies, unknown lies, known knowns, unknown knowns, etc., are ultimately irrelevant to our right to defend ourselves. Past actions (good or bad) can in no way cause us to "lose" our right to take any action that is necessary to defend our way of life.

Even though nuclear weapons are really difficult to produce, I am afraid there are a few "loose nukes" around from the old Soviet Union or maybe even other places. Hopefully whoever has such a weapon is smart enough to know that the day a nuclear weapon is used on the US is the day all the rules change.




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